Zoopla adopts ‘scientific’ approach as marketing spend surges 41%

Claiming the brand has “carried the business forward” in its push to become more than home search, Zoopla is taking a “scientific” approach to allocating marketing spend.

Zoopla_LogoZoopla has increased its marketing spend by 41% for 2024 to “defend” its share of the competitive property market.

According to head of marketing Cassie Hall, the property website adopts a “scientific” approach to allocating marketing spend. Zoopla concentrates the majority of its spend on the first half of the year, capitalising on two “surges” of traffic and interest—on Boxing Day and after Easter. Taking advantage of this increase in attention, the company kicked off a full-funnel eight-week marketing campaign on Monday (6 May).

“Our spend coincides with those surges in traffic and it’s why we’ve just launched our new campaign on bank holiday Monday to really capitalise on that,” she says.

Launched in mid-May 2022, the most recent iteration of the ‘Just ask Zoopla’ campaign will run during the FA Cup Final and Euros coverage, airing on linear TV, VOD, YouTube and various social media channels, alongside the Zoopla homepage and app.

Alongside the traffic surge in May, Hall highlights the “very volatile” nature of the UK property market. Overall category spend experienced a 59% decline last year, she explains, with a “return to normal” spend predicted for 2024. Hall says it is “critical” Zoopla maintains its proportionate share of voice to “defend” its share of market.

We’re hoping to see whether regionality and going local is actually going to support our growth.

Cassie Hall, Zoopla

“If everyone else is turning up the spend, we’ll turn up our spend,” she adds.

In addition to the competitive landscape, Hall anticipates a 12% increase in home moves and sales this year. According to Bank of England data, mortgage approvals for house purchases in March 2024 were up 20% on a year ago and up 1% on February 2024. There were 61,325 mortgage approvals in March 2024, compared with 51,048 in March 2023.

“Given mortgages and everything are still rocket high, there’s actually a really strong market this year,” she adds.

Hall says the Just ask Zoopla campaign represents the company’s “strongest chapter” in its marketing journey to date. It is estimated the long-running ‘Kids Party’ and ‘Nana’s Cottage’ TV adverts will reach 46 million adults throughout the campaign. Hall says the ads actively tap into the “nosy neighbour” angle, aiming to position the brand as “so much more” than just a home search platform.

Investing in regional

Zoopla will be “tactically investing” over the eight week campaign period, “double downing” in high-performing regions of the North West and West Midlands.

“It’s where we’ve identified that we have had room to grow both consumer volume and customer business,” Hall explains.

The ads will run across local radio, OOH and Zoopla branded taxis, which launched in March.

“We’re hoping to see whether regionality and going local is actually going to support our growth,” she says.

Zoopla’s primary objectives are to continue to grow brand association and consideration. Hall says that since the start of the campaign in May 2022, the company has achieved a 7% growth in consideration and boosted its association with house prices and finding an agent by 10%.

The campaign also had an impact on Zoopla’s short-term metrics, with session share increasing by upwards of 1.5% every time the campaign goes live.

If everyone else is turning up the spend, we’ll turn up our spend.

Cassie Hall, Zoopla

“That’s massive considering that we have about 47 million sessions a month,” Hall adds. “Every time we go live, our share of sessions increases and then we see a 6% year-on-year increase in the leads being sent.”

Hall explains this means users are coming to the site to enquire with an agent to get a valuation, because they’re either looking to sell or they want to view a property they’re looking to buy.

“It’s doing an incredibly good brand response job for us,” she explains.

Hall acknowledges that changing the creative poses a “risk.” However, she emphasises the campaign supports customers from the top of the funnel to people making their final decision using Zoopla, which Hall explains is “exactly” the strategy.

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The wider marketing strategy aims to “grow association and usage of Zoopla as the UK’s trusted partner for all key home decisions”, including finding a home, finding an agent to sell, choosing an area to live in, or choosing a mortgage.

Speaking on Zoopla’s wider marketing strategy, “back in the day” Hall says it was very “head-led and technical” and failed to “speak to consumers as humans.” The new campaign fits into the marketing journey to establish the platform as “more than just home search.” According to Hall, every 1.5 seconds, someone makes a home decision on Zoopla.

“Which essentially takes us into a whole new arena of becoming a life or home partner,” she adds. “The brand has really carried the business forward in doing that.”